After lots of wavering, Microsoft has finally made the due date for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) official: The update will ship in the latter half of 2007.
(Microsoft didn't issue a press release with that pronouncement. Instead, it notified its Technology Adoption Partner testers of it via an e-mail regarding the imminent start of the Vista SP1 testing program.)
The second half 2007 date won't be too surprising to folks who believed Microsoft Server and Tools chief Bob Muglia, who confirmed reports that Vista SP1 would be timed to hit with Longhorn Server, another Microsoft product due in the latter half of 2007.
But in recent months, other Microsoft officials have tried to muddy the SP1 waters, claiming Microsoft had no timetable for Vista's first service pack. Such a claim might even be believable, given how long (2008!) Microsoft is delaying delivery of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.
Why the secrecy, Microsoft? Customers, especially many corporate ones, are still using SP1 as a marker for when they'll consider deploying a new software release. By refusing to provide an SP1 ship target, you've been creating more FUD.